Microsoft Translator Team Blog

News and Views from the Microsoft Translator Team in Microsoft Research.

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  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Celebrating International Mother Language Day with the Launch of New Languages & Features

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    Today Microsoft celebrates the International Mother Language Day alongside UNESCO, with the goal to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism across the world. Advancements in technology to support and preserve languages create greater awareness of the linguistic and cultural traditions celebrated throughout the world, which in turn promote understanding,tolerance and dialogue.   

    With the proliferation of digital content on the web, mobile devices and desktop applications, there is an increasing demand to communicate and collaborate in multiple languages. Helping enable business, communities, and consumers to communicate and collaborate across language barriers through technology innovation is a core focus for the Microsoft Translator team.

    Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of two new officially supported languages: Malay and Urdu. These two languages join the other languages already supported by the Microsoft Translator platform and Bing Translator. Malay is spoken by over 200M people worldwide in countries ranging from Malaysia to Brunei. Urdu is spoken by over 100M people worldwide and is spoken by large populations residing in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and countries in Europe and North America. It is the national language of Pakistan, and the official language of several states in India.

    A year ago, on the last International Mother Language Day, we announced the release of Hmong as part of a close engagement between Microsoft and the Hmong community - a small but significant step towards empowering businesses and organizations to tap into the power of Microsoft’s language technology. Like Hmong, the development of Urdu is the result of a community effort shepherded by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India) under the leadership of Dr.Girish Nath Jha, and Microsoft, utilizing the powerful Microsoft Translator Hub customization tools.

    In addition to the launch of these new languages; we are also rolling out several new improvements to our platform, customization tools and language quality. See the release notes for this release in our forum here.

    We have seen some great momentum with both the business and language communities for the Translator Hub. Through the Hub, users are able to bring better and specialized translation quality to established languages, as well as the many native languages of the world that are not yet supported by major translation providers which goes to the core of supporting the goals of Mother Language Day. Urdu is the latest language community benefiting from the availability of the Hub.

    Developers and webmasters can begin leveraging these languages today on their sites by installing the Microsoft Translator Widget and users can utilize the collaborative features of the widget to provide alternate translations to improve the translation quality. Additionally, if you are passionate about the community development efforts around Urdu or other languages that we support and want to become involved in the efforts, please contact us.

    Commemorating the International Mother Language Day, Microsoft Local Language Program (LLP), also announced the support of 13 extra languages to our range of Language Interface Packs (LIPs), bringing the total number of languages supported by Windows 8 and Office to 108. Learn more at the LLP web site.

    - Vikram Dendi,
    Director of Product Management,
    Microsoft/Bing Translator

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Welcome to the Machine Translation team blog!

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    Welcome to our blog! We are very excited to bring to you news and insights into work (and fun) at the Machine Translation (MT) Group within Microsoft Research. Hello World! We have great mix of researchers, developers, testers, program managers, linguists, designers and product managers working on MT here, and we are pleased to launch this blog as a way to connect with customers, partners and other friends of MT. We hope this will provide greater insight into the work we do and who we are, and we are very excited to be talking to you.

    Machine Translation (MT), to those that don’t know it, is exactly as it sounds: using a “machine” (in most cases computer software) to translate text from one human language to another. There have been many different approaches developed in this area and results have been improving over time. You will hear from members of the team that have been working on this technology and hear about how the research breakthroughs are coming to a desktop near you. We will be introducing you to the team building the new Microsoft Translator and you will get some background on the technology used for the site.

    RSS and Atom feeds are available for all posts or specific categories on this blog. For now anonymous blog comments are under moderation – I am hopeful that as long as spam levels remain low we can keep it that way.

    Once again, thank you for visiting the blog! Cheers!

    - Vikram

    Vikram Dendi works at Microsoft Research as Senior Product Manager for the Machine Translation (MSR-MT) group.
  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    New Auto-refill Feature in Windows Azure Marketplace

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    An easy way to subscribe to the Translator API is through the Windows Azure Marketplace , as evidenced by the thousands of developers subscribing to the service through the marketplace. The team just added an often asked for feature - Auto-refill. This feature addresses a key request from many Translator API customers who wanted to (a) more tightly control their monthly pre-committed subscription level and (b) not run out of volume in case the usage exceeds the forecast level.

    Here is what the marketplace team has to say about the new feature: 

    The Auto-refill option can be enabled on any paid subscription, giving more options to subscribers of the Microsoft Translator API ensure effective use of their subscription volumes. Auto-refill provides the ability to ensure that you, or anyone using your subscription, do not reach your usage limit before the end of your subscription period, and thus avoid the resultant loss of service. Auto-refill does this by cancelling your current Translator subscription and creating a new subscription before you reach your usage limit. All this happens seamlessly, without interrupting the service.

    How Does it Work?

    You subscription gives you a certain allotment of transactions, users, characters or other discrete limits (characters - for translator). Once you enable Auto-refill on a particular subscription, Windows Azure Marketplace monitors your character balance for the current subscription period. If your balance reaches 10% or less of your subscription limit, and you have not used up your maximum number of Auto-refills in the past 30 days (or have chosen unlimited Auto-refills), Windows Azure Marketplace re-subscribes you to, and charges you the then-effective subscription rate for, a new subscription, thereby giving you  new subscription period and new character balance. In addition, any characters remaining immediately before Auto-refill occurred are carried over to your new subscription so that you don’t lose anything you already paid for.

    Who Can Benefit From Auto-refill?

    Scenario 1 - Manage Anticipated Spikes in Volume

    If you are running a promotional campaign for your application you might see higher than expected traffic during the promotion. If you don't know what your target reach may be and want to ensure no interruption in service, you could select the "Unlimited" refill option during the course of the promotion. This will ensure that any unanticipated spikes are supported. In the month following the promotion, you can then modify your subscription and auto-refill needs accordingly. 

    Scenario 2 - Manage Your Costs

    The cyclical nature of projects may require higher or lower volumes in given months. Some months your usage may require only 4M characters and in others your usage may increase to 32M characters. With the auto-refill feature you can set your monthly volume to 4M with an auto-refill option of 8 refills.By leveraging the auto-refill feature, you are able to better manage your subscription to your lowest anticipated volumes / costs and then increase your volumes as needed. Allowing you to minimize time spent monitoring your usage and save costs over a larger subscription every month.   

    Step-by-Step to Enable Auto-Refill for Microsoft Translator

    Step 1: Select “Enable Auto Refill”

      

    Step 2: Enter the Number of refills, agree to the terms and conditions, and click “Submit”

     

    Step 3: Return to summary where uou should now see your available refills and option to “Edit Auto Refill”

     

    Click here to learn more about the Auto-refill feature and here to learn more about other release features for Windows Azure Marketplace.

     

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Building Windows 8 Store Apps Using Microsoft Translator

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    The Microsoft Translator API is a hosted API that allows you to add machine translation to your app. It fully supports Windows Store Apps, so if you want to add localization to these apps, doing so is as easy as subscribing to and using the API. We’ve built out step-by-step instructions and assets that demonstrates how to do this this, showing a C#/XAML based app, built for the Windows 8 Store, which uses the MVVM design pattern.

    Getting Started Guides and Assets:

    Build a Twitter App with Translations

    Want to know what people are saying about the latest product release or global news event across the world in 40+ languages? The Twitter app allows you to search for tweets that match a search term, and when those tweets are in a non-English language, it will translate them for you directly over the top of the existing text. We’ve also made the full code for the application available for you to download. The links above with provide you with the walkthroughs and assets to get started. 

    View of Twitter App with Translations:

     

    Close-up of one of the tweets, showing the translation:

    clip_image003

  • Microsoft Translator Team Blog

    Announcements and Sessions at MIX09(Updated)

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    The Microsoft Translator team is sponsoring MIX 09 this year and we will be showing off the new web page translation widget and the translator APIs. If you are attending MIX, come to our session!

    All attendees go widget invite codes in the bags. At this session you will see how you can make use of them.

    MIX09-B05M Exposing Web Content to a Global Audience Using Machine Translation. San Polo 3401 | Thursday March 19 |1:25 PM-1:45 PM

    We will also be at the Live Search session.

    MIX09-T33F Customized Live Search for Web and Client Applications. Delfino 4001| Thursday March 19 |1:00 PM-2:15 PM |

    We will also be giving out the exclusive API invite codes at these sessions – so make sure to be there!

    Keep an eye on this blog for further news and tidbits from MIX.

    - Vikram Dendi
    Business Strategy & Front End Program Management
    Microsoft Translator

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